Skip to main content

Microenterprise home kitchen operations gains traction in California during COVID-19 (By Jacob Fry)


On September 18th, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law
Assembly Bill (AB) 626, which became effective in January of 2019. This law formally allowed cities and counties to legalize microenterprise home kitchen operations across the state of California. As of January 2020, only Riverside county had adopted AB 626, but the pressure is mounting for more counties, specifically Los Angeles and San Bernardino, to adopt it as well.

CA Assembly Bill 626

CA Assembly Bill 626 passed with bipartisan support and allowed chefs and home cooks to start small operations out of their homes known as a microenterprise home kitchen operation, or MEHKO. These operations can choose delivery, take-out, or dine-in options. Cooks wanting to start a home kitchen must go through a permitting process, pass health inspections, and can only generate up to $50,000 in gross sales annually. Though gross sales are capped annually, being able to earn up to $50,000 annually with a roughly $1,000 investment is a pretty good return for someone who is trying to start in the industry and gain a customer base, or for someone who recently lost their job due to COVID-19 and is looking for something to do until they can find another job. This bill, however, has not been adopted across the whole state of California as each country must sign this bill into law for their individual county.

MEHKO’s in the Face of COVID-19

When COVID-19 first started in March, many restaurants were forced to close their indoor dining and do take out only. Now, seven months later, some restaurants have had to close their doors, leaving an estimated 8 million employees laid off nation-wide. AB 626 is a way for those employees to start their own place at a low cost until they could find more permanent work again, or be able to prove their concept to start their own restaurant one day. However, major counties like Los Angeles and San Bernardino have yet to adopt the law, causing many home cooks to try and lobby for them to adopt the law.

Foodnome

A new California based company called Foodnome assists home cooks in lobbying for the bill to be passed in their county and then helps them set up their home kitchen. For $1,000, Foodnome walks a home cook through the permitting process, and then allows them access to their platform, which allows customers to order food to-go, for delivery, or dine-in at their home. They help market and grow businesses, and have become especially popular during COVID-19.

The Future of MEHKO’s

With MEHKO’s becoming more popular, counties like Los Angeles and San Bernardino could be forced to follow suit. New and upcoming chefs could turn to this option to get their name out there and test new concepts, signaling a new shift in the restaurant industry. 

Will MEHKO’s be adopted throughout all of California? Would you eat from a MEHKO? How will this change the restaurant industry, if adopted more widely? 

About the Author 

Jacob is a fourth-year Hospitality Management major at the Collins College at Cal Poly Pomona. He is involved with the Kellogg Honors College and ETA Sigma Delta, the international hospitality honor society. He currently works at Flying Rice as a chef and is the executive director of Plants 4 the People. He one day hopes to open his own restaurant.

Picture source: https://foodpreneurinstitute.com/ab-626-cottage-law/

Comments

  1. I have never heard of Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations before. I think MEHKO's should be adopted all throughout California because not a lot of new chefs have the money to open up a restaurant. I would definitely try out food from a MEHKO and see if there's a difference between that and food from a restaurant. I think this would drastically change the restaurant industry because MEHKO's are more community based. I know there's something called Cottage Food Laws where people are able to sell food from their homes once they get a license and their kitchen inspected. I wonder what the differences are between that and MEHKO.

    HRT 3020.01 Eleanor Tan

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Yammer: A Social Networking Site Exclusively for the Workplace

Effective internal communications among employees are related to some desirable organizational outcomes, such as robust morale, a clear vision, low turnover, and high employee engagement. The question is what platform can serve the purpose. This ABC News video introduces “ Yammer ,” an exclusive internal communication tool for companies. A user must use a valid company e-mail address to sign up for an account. Once an account is validated, the user will be led to the company page that is pretty much like a Facebook page. The difference is that only the users whose e-mail addresses share the same domain can see the wall and communicate with each other. I have no question about whether Yammer could be a useful internal communication tool for companies, but I just wonder: how many social networking sites do people need for communication? Why people have to “create” so many platforms or channels for “effective communications”? To many people, Facebook is only for “friends,” whe

Luxury vs. Millennials and Their Technology: The Ritz-Carlton (By Julia Shorr)

Embodying the finest luxury experience, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC has been established since 1983. In 1998, Marriott International purchased the brand offering it more opportunity for growth while being independently owned and operated. They are known for their enhanced service level as the motto states, “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”. The luxury brand now carries 97 hotels and resorts internationally and is attempting to keep the aspects of luxury while keeping up with the trends of the technologically improving generations. The Varying Demographics of the Target Market The Ritz-Carlton’s typical target market includes: business executives, corporate, leisure travelers, typically middle-aged persons and elders, and families from the upper and upper-middle class section of society .   This infers a large range of types of travelers in which all are similar in that they are not opposed to spending extra for the luxurious ambiance. However, with

How to choose the best credit cards for travel (By David Mai)

  Traveling in a Post-Pandemic World If there was one thing the pandemic taught us, it was that everybody became hesitant and unwilling to travel. Shaver (2020) of The Washington Post shared an interesting tidbit in which Americans were actually staying home less during the pandemic, according to research that tracks users' smartphone data.  The quarantine fatigue affected nearly everyone who lived an active lifestyle or loved to be out and about in the world. It was simply not a safe time, and too many regulations were in place that deterred consumers from traveling for leisure. Consequently, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the travel and hospitality industry. Yet, there is no doubt that people will yearn to travel again when the pandemic is fully lifted. Around this same time, credit card companies have developed unique ways to retain business with consumers who look to maximize rewards and benefits for their journey. A Little Preparation Goes a Long Way